THE WICCAN CALENDAR: LITHA (SUMMER SOLSTICE)
When is Litha: June 20-22
Litha pronunciation: LEE-tha
Themes: abundance, growth, masculine energy, love, magic
Also known as: Midsummer, Midsummer’s Eve, Gathering Day, St. John’s Day, St. John’s Eve, Summer Solstice, Alban Hefin, Feill-Sheathain
“Litha” is the name given to the Wiccan Sabbat celebrated at the Summer Solstice. This is the longest day and shortest night of the year, marking the pinnacle of the Sun’s power to fuel the growing season. From here on out, the Sun will set a little earlier each night until Yule, and so we recognize and give thanks for its warmth.
Though it’s typically celebrated on June 21st, the exact moment of the Summer Solstice varies from year to year. This is due to a slight misalignment between the Gregorian calendar and the actual rate of the Earth’s rotation around the Sun. The Solstice also occurs at differing local times, so depending on where you live, it may fall the day before or after the date listed on any given calendar. For this reason, a date range of June 20-22 is often cited in sources on the Wheel of the Year.
To read the rest of this very informative article by one of my favorite authors Lisa Chamberlain of Wicca Living
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Each day I will bring you a new song an/or video and/or a back flash from Llewellyn’s Witches’ Datebook (these will range from 1999[1st year published] until 2019) for our upcoming Litha/Summer Solstice celebrations.
Today I picked a beautiful instrumental with amazing pictures and words that touched my spirit. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
The Witches Sabbat – Litha
Klates is moon goddess venerated by Ugric People of western Siberia. A shape-shifter, she is shown here manifested as a hare, an animal sacred to her. This appearance shows her lunar nature, for the hare is a lunar creature; many cultures, when looking at the moon, see the outline of the hare, who lives in the moon. The hare is often seen as an intermediary between lunar deities and humans, so the appearance of Klates in this form indicates her accessibility to her people. Klates is known as a fertility goddess and a goddess of rejuvenation. She is called upon by women in childbirth, for she is especially venerated as a promoter of the beginning of the life cycle. Although she is somewhat feared because she can determine people’s destinies, she is mostly revered for her gentle wisdom, She is a compassionate guide to the mysteries of life.
For more information about Goddess Klates
To see images of Goddess Klates
Diana is the ancient Lady of the Beats, called by the Romans Lucina, Goddess of Light. As mistress of wild things she is especially responsible for anything young and vulnerable, be wild or human. She is goddess of solitude, comfortable with the wilderness and with the grate silences of nature. She represents the mystic, primitive identity of the hunter and the hunted. Diana, is a moon goddess, symbolizing the moon at its crescent phase. She stands for the virgin, a self-sufficient, free goddess who lives life on her own terms. Especially a goddess of women, she is related to all phases of female existence, from infancy to menstruation through birth nursing, menopause, and death. Diana stands for the part of us that is at home in the wildness, at home with our primitive, instinctual nature.
For more information about Goddess Diana
For more information about Goddess Lucina
To see images of the Goddess Diana
To see images of the Goddess Lucina
If an illustration of a dubious event counts as fiction, then this late 1500s sketch could be the first reference to familiars:
The author is unknown, but there is a description here:
An image of a witch and her familiar spirits taken from a publication that dealt with the witch trials of Elizabeth Stile, Mother Dutten, Mother Devell and Mother Margaret in Windsor, 1579.
Whether the term “familiar” would have been used by the author at the time is unclear. However, the sketch was made some time after 1579 and in 1584 we find what is likely the first appearance of the term “familiars” in this context within the English corpus. This appears in the book Scot’s Discovery of Witchcraft, edited by Reginald Scot. (This could be earlier than Malleus Maleficarum.)
The term appears in the very long subtitle of the book:
Proving the Common Opinions of Witches Contracting with Divels, Spirits, Or Familiars, and Their Power to Kill, Torment, and Consume the Bodies of Men, Women, and Children, Or Other Creatures by Diseases Or Otherwise, Their Flying in the Air…
To read the rest